Faith Doesn’t Come Through Understanding It All

I’m somebody that needs to know the steps of doing something before I do it. Otherwise, I’m super nervous about doing that thing.

For instance, in college, when I worked for the student newspaper, I had to go through media relations people to talk to the school’s athletes or coaches for an interview. But when I worked for the newspaper in my hometown the summer after graduation, often there weren’t media relations people. I had to learn how to do something all over again, more or less.

Since the steps were new, I was a little unsure when I first started, a little nervous, to be honest with you. It’s like when you go on a first date with someone you don’t know all too well – you’re not quite sure what to expect, so you try to prepare for every eventuality. You end up sounding like Leslie Knope from Parks & Recreation. Seriously, watch the video.

But in those situations, any of them, we need to learn to step forward anyways. Following Jesus is kind of the same thing.

I’ve been reading Jeremiah over the last couple weeks (you can read here some thoughts I’ve had already), and this thought occurred to me today. It is not our understanding of things that saves us, but our faith that is counted as righteousness, even when we don’t fully understand.

I was reading Jeremiah this morning and reading about how God was going to judge the Israelites, and I just wondered why God acted the way He did towards them. Why did He not show them grace? Why did He not show mercy? He’s full of grace and mercy, why couldn’t He show it then?

I don’t understand why, but I don’t have to understand. He’s God. He’s majestic. He’s glorious. He’s in control. He’s all-wise. And I’m not. And I don’t get it.

For whatever reason, as Christians, we’ve been told that we have to accept everything full-on with no questioning, no real processing. We can’t be “good Christians” and try to think through things. I say that’s awful. I’d say that we shouldn’t just accept everything at face value because someone told us to. What kind of faith is that? It’s based more on somebody else’s thoughts than your own.

To be honest, I read Jeremiah and I wonder why God was the way He was. I question God. It’s in those moments of questioning where we need to bank on what we know about God, what we believe is true and know for sure and have no doubts about, and trust that He’s got a plan and that He knows better.

If you’re questioning God or things about God and you’re in a church/Christian context, don’t be afraid of it. Maybe it’s something the Lord is using to create a stronger relationship with Him. That’s definitely how it’s working out in my life.

Recently I’ve been going through a dry spell in my walk with Jesus where I’ve questioned a lot of things, even, at times, whether or not I believe, whether or not God really cares for me, whether or not it’s worth it to follow Jesus. I know it’s worth it, I know that God is the only way this world makes sense, but I’ve allowed myself some space to work through some things instead of getting down on myself for questioning things in the first place.

I think that, in that space, God has done some of His best work on my mind and on my soul.

But I have to remember that, at the end of the day, there are some things that, this side of heaven, I may never understand. And then, I recall to mind Romans 4:5 –

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…

It’s not me understanding everything that saves me, it’s me believing in God, who justifies the ungodly, of whom I am most certainly one.